OIL EXPORT DUTIES MAY BE INCREASED

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MOSCOW, February 12, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent)- Export duties on the super profits of the oil sector (more than $25 a barrel) must not exceed 70%, Deputy Finance Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told journalists Thursday.

He recalled that now the export duty is 40%.

Mr. Dvorkovich said the Ministry of Finance proposes a 70% duty. "But this is the maximum. A large number cannot be set. It might be even smaller," said Mr. Dvorkovich.

The deputy minister emphasized that an increase in the duty must be examined with a change in the tax on the extraction of natural resources (NDPI). According to him, there has no been a consensus as to whether to differentiate NDPI yet. "The Ministry of Finance has not differentiated yet," said Mr. Dvorkovich. He said, "an increase in taxes by $2-3 billion (total duties) is only possible when a differentiation is introduced." "Otherwise there will be problems with a number of companies", explained the deputy minister. In his opinion, the problems will be in the administration of the tax not the differentiation itself.

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